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Government is Making a COVID-19 Tracker App for Android, iOS: Report

CoWin-20 app is currently in testing and will be released via Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

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Government is Making a COVID-19 Tracker App for Android, iOS: Report

CoWin-20 app is reportedly being rolled out among a select group of users

Highlights
  • CoWin-20 app will aim to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus
  • The app is reportedly being developed by NITI Aayog
  • MeitY has released Corona Kavach app in the meantime

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread across India, the Union government is reportedly working on a mobile app in a bid to make citizens more aware of their surroundings. According to a report, the CoWin-20 app that is currently in its trial phase, will aim to ensure that citizens do not travel to COVID-19-affected places along with tracking their surrounding with regards to the pandemic. It is also reported that the app will help the users to track all the recent contacts they have made who are later diagnosed with the disease. It is still unclear when and how the government is planning to launch the coronavirus tracker app. Currently, another coronavirus tracking app by the government of India is available for Android users in Google Play Store.

According to News18, the app is being developed by the NITI Aayog and will eventually be downloadable from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The report added that the CoWin-20 app is already being rolled out among a select group of users through an APK.

From the reports it is stated that the app aims to:

  • Monitor the status of the community spread of coronavirus through users' location.
  • Alert users if they are near a COVID-19 infected patient.
  • Send notifications to users who have been in close contact with anyone tested positive for COVID-19

The beta version of the CoWin-20 app was also assessed by The Next Web which found that the government will acquire users' data in regards to the coronavirus pandemic via Bluetooth. "The app will rely on Bluetooth to check if you've been within six feet of the distance of an infected person," the report claimed.

The report further added that the app will contain a map-like feature to trace the location history of a user. "Thanks to MAP 19, I found out every place I visited and every person who was 5 ft away from me, in the past 14 days," the report highlighted.

The Next Web also suspects that a few features present on the beta version may not be included in the final version of the CoWin-20 app. While the privacy of the user on the app is also questioned, the Next Web report suggested that the app will first ask for "permission to always access location data." It added that the government has "promised to keep the data encrypted."

While several aspects of the rumoured app remain in the dark, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has also come up with its coronavirus tracking app. Dubbed as Corona Kavach, the app is available on Google Play app store and it "conducts analysis and provide information about the active COVID-19 cases in India."

India at the moment is under nationwide lockdown due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The country until Thursday witnessed 13 deaths due to the pandemic.


How are we staying sane during this Coronavirus lockdown? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Abhik Sengupta Abhik Sengupta writes about smartphones and tablets for Gadgets 360, out of Delhi. Abhik is working as a sub-editor for Gadgets 360 and has also frequently written about mobile apps and data privacy. Abhik is available on Twitter at @abhiksengupta and can be reached out on abhiks@ndtv.com. More
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